Today is my one day of the week that I go to my methadone clinic to receive my take homes for the week. (Actually I should only be going once a month, but my insurance will only cover six take homes at a time.) On the way home, as I drove down the dark highway, a thick coating of fog blanketing the road, I started crying. Uncontrollably and inconsolably.
There is really no good reason for me to be so upset, which of course is all the more upsetting. I am “doing good”. I am clean going on two years. We finally were able to get a new car that we didn’t pay cash for. The monthly payments should help improve our credit (along with the cell phone, car insurance, and credit cards). My husband has a good job. A union job that has benefits. Best of all, I am earning back the respect of my mother again. Slowly, but it is happening. So why am I so fucking sad?
One reason I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, is that before I started to get high, is that I was not just on the right track, I was ahead of schedule. I graduated from high school with a 4.5 tGPA. I had an almost full scholarship to the University of Maryland College a park as an honor student. My life was planned out. I was on a path for success. Then I started getting high.
Years of addiction, clean time, and relapse followed. Multiple arrests and convictions and probations ensued. Saying that I veered off of my path is an understatement. Granted, I am now back on the trail, and moving forward, but I wonder, did I travel so far backwards that I will never catch up to where I could be, or should be?
I look at the Facebook profiles for my high school friends and become painfully aware of how far ahead of me they all are. This is part of the reason that I didn’t go to my high school reunion. I am humiliated when I see the shocked looks on everyone’s face. I was the girl who went to the straight A breakfast every grading quarter. The girl who tutored other students in my classes. The girl who got into NYU, but went to UMCP for a boy of all things. And yet, I am the girl who let almost her whole graduating class surpass her. It brings up the inevitable, “But you are so smart? What happened?”
I want to go back to school. I have almost two years worth of credits. Some of those were classes that are only useful to a primary education degree, and are thus useless to me. One day, after I had made a comment on Facebook about how I should have become an English teacher like I was planning to because people’s poor grammar drives me crazy, an old friend of mine commented that it isn’t too late. I could still become an English teacher, she told me. Only, it is too late for that. With my criminal record, I could never be a teacher. So I must choose another carrier path. I have stated in previous blogs that I want to be a makeup artist. Other interests are being a social worker, or more recently a writer.
Choosing a career that requires me to go back to school presents a lot of little battles that I have to psych myself up for. One issue is that if you have ANY drug convictions, be they felonies or misdemeanors, you are inevitable of any sort of government financial aid. To me, this has to be one the absolute dumbest, hypocritical, cruel laws or rules in existence. Here everyone wants to preach about how drug addicts and/or criminals need to stop going down their paths of sin and rehabilitate themselves, but you want to offer them zero financial assistance. It makes no sense. Most drug addicts, both current and recovering, have horrible credit and probably very little money. We all fucked all that shit up a long time ago. As a society, they tell us to turn our lives around, but we are not offered the same aid as everyone else? Yeah, that’s fair.
When I last took many college classes, I was nineteen years old. I taught preschool full time (40 hours a week) and took a full course load at the community college. This was following a year at the University of Maryland College Park, where I lived in the dorms. I used drugs occasionally, but was far from having a habit. Now, ten years, two kids, and seven convictions later, going back to school is going to be very different. I am scared. Actually, I am scared to admit that I am scared, lol. School has always come easy for me. Too easy, really. With an above genius level IQ, I was used to just getting A’s with no real work. I went to college with zero study skills, because I had never needed them. I also have ADD. Once I got to college and there was 250 – 300 people to a class and no one taking attendance, I found it impossible to force myself to go to class. I could not sit through a two hour lecture class and I was used to passing with out work anyway. Not just passing, excelling. If I had a lot of trouble going to class back then, I know that with two kids and a million responsibilities, it will be even harder. Online classes are even worse for me. I will keep putting them off because I don’t HAVE to go to a physical building and my kids will make it almost impossible to do them anyway. I never had to write papers with any real distractions (just the ones inside of my mind). Now I have kids, dogs, a husband, and real life responsibilities to clutter my mind, my time. I am almost afraid to even try because I am terrified to fail.
I am afraid that I went in reverse for so long, that catching up is an impossibility. I know that I face an incredibly steep, uphill battle. The percentages of people who are able to successfully recover from heroin is slim, I am all too aware of this. I am not delusional, I know that I will never be “cured”. Not of my addictions, and not of my depression/anxiety/PTSD/ADD. The best that I can hope for with diseases such as these, are to be in remission for the rest of my life. And it fucking terrifies me. The fact that all of these demons are brewing just under the lid, waiting to boil over is a paralyzingly real possibility. Leaving the clinic, I was hit the extremely copious feeling that this could be all for nothing.
Recovering from addiction, and depression for that matter, is exhausting. Sometimes I worry that I can not do this forever. It is so much work. I get overwhelmed which in turn pushes me down the long, vacuum powered black hole that is my depression. When I start to get depressed, overwhelmed and frustrated, I am hit with rip tide of doom. Yes, I am aware of how corny and melodramatic this sounds, but it is true, I am pulled under by forceful waves of doom. All of the sudden, it will just hit me like a wrecking ball hitting a brick wall. I will instantly feel that my life as I know it is over. That nothing good is yet to come. Just blackness and stress and tears.
Many times I feel like I am irrevocably broken. There is a strong possibility that I can not be fixed. With any luck, I may be able to keep my diseases in remission, keep them in check, but there is not a super glue out there strong enough to glue me back together. My flaws and past make me who I am, and that’s cool. I am proud that I came through the battlefield alive, but you better believe that I am far from unscathed. I pray that with time, my wounds will start to close, my scars will start to fade. I look to a path of enlightenment and inner peace. It is more than likely impossible to jump back on to the road that I was previously set to drive down and speed up enough to make it to the mile marker that I would have been at if I had not detoured. I suppose that I need to get on a new highway. Possibly even one that is not even done being built. Maybe I have to build it as I go. I just pray for the strength to continue to go forward. For as long as I don’t go backwards, maybe inching ahead, no matter how slowly, is alright. Maybe in life success is really defined as not being beaten down and halted by the hurdles and obstacles that life throws at you.